Beer and Breweries of the Year

The Brewers Row Beers and Brewery of the year. There were 50 responses to the poll and despite some surprising results I am happy with the sample size. Honourable mentions were given when the first runner up was within one vote of the winner…

Every Brewery on the Row won or was an honourable mention which shows the quality of this place!

Without further Adieu…

Best Brewers Row Core Beer


It wasn’t even close, this is without a doubt THE BEER of Brewers Row


Best Limited Brewers Row Beer release (the choices given are the respective top rated beers from each brewery according to untapped)


The first of a few wins for Twin Sails… Props to Moody Ales Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, which also did well.


Best Branding


This win surely comes on the back of the tall can releases

Yellow dog followed a little behind


Best Tasting Room

Finally some intrigue, I was sure PARKSIDE would win this category but alas the came just short and win the Honourable Mention


Surprise, Surprise the winner is:



Best Customer Service

Another close one but MOODY ALES grabs an Honourable Mention nod congrats!

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But once again TWIN SAILS wins by one vote!


IPA is King in BC which was the best of the year on Brewers Row? (top rated IPA on untappd with more than 150 ratings is listed for each brewery)

Its not even close TWIN SAILS SPACE ARMADILLO IS KING! hopefully it comes back soon!


The Parkside Brewery

Name: The Parkside Brewery


Address: 2731 Murray St, Port Moody, BC Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 11.02.42 AM.png


Established: 2016


Style: Contemporary


Tasting Area: Approx. 100+ seats, Outside food is OK, snacks, Frequent food trucks, video games, Front Picnic area.


Core Beers: Dawn Pilsner, Dusk Pale Ale, Graffiti IPA.

Parkside is the newest Brewery on the Row putting out a range of contemporary ales and lagers to please just about everyone! Guest taps are also available so there is something for everyone.


Twin Sails Brewing

Name: Twin Sails Brewing



Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 10.50.21 AM.png


Established: 2015


Style: Traditional and Progressive


Tasting Area: Approx. 50 seats, Snacks, frequent food trucks, Patio (Spring 2017), Brick interior.


Core Beers: Pilsner, Hefeweizen.

Twin Sails is no longer the new brewery on the block, but they are producing some of the newest styles in beer today. Originally known as maker of traditional german style Twin Sails has more recently been known for its ultra progressive ales like Space Armadillo and Two Straws Milk Shake IPA-New beers usually drop every Saturday… but don’t stick around long.


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Moody Ales Brewery

Name: Moody Ales


Address: 2601 Murray St, Port Moody, BC

Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 10.40.49 AM.png

Established: 2014


Style: Eclectic


Tasting Area: Approx. 75 Seats, occasional live music, snacks, WINE & CIDER AVAILABLE, outside food is ok, front picnic area, frequent food trucks,


Core Beers: Hardy Brown Ale, Sociable Pale Ale, Affable IPA, Chipper Blonde.

Moody Ales opened mere months after Yellow Dog in fall of 2014. Their beer list is ever Changing and you are sure to find something you like on tap.

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Yellow Dog Brewing

Name: Yellow Dog Brewing


Address: 2817 Murray St. Port Moody

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Established: 2014


Style: West Coast


Tasting Area: Approx. 100 seats, outdoor seating, Small fare food, Frequent Food Trucks outside food ok, CIDER-NO.


Core Beers: Play Dead IPA, Chase My Tail Pale Ale.

Yellow Dog was the First brewery in Port Moody and burst on the scene winning best in show for their Shake a Paw Smoked Porter. Since then Yellow Dog has won a litany of awards and is arguably a top 3 brewery in BC.


Opinion- Mission Springs Should Rebrand Their Beer Big Chief Cream Ale

Let me begin by pointing out that I am NOT suggesting that Mission Springs is bigoted or hateful. I am however concerned that the branding of this beer was created out of ignorance, and that is concerning.

I should also say that in my other life (not this blog) I am a Secondary History teacher with a keen interest in Aboriginal History – That’s my appeal to logos, just so we are clear…

So here are the cans in question:


So what is the issue here?

The issue is simply that this branding (likely unintentionally) serves to perpetuate negative stereotypes of Aboriginal people, and given present need for reconciliation that is simply not acceptable.


-The Image

The most visible feature of the can of course is that of the Aboriginal in the Head dress. The branding is clearly a reference and amalgamation of many different Aboriginal brandings associated with the automotive industry in the 20th century such as those below:

So what is so terrible about in image?  It would be hard to describe the images above as disparaging I agree, but just as there a few simple things in out complicated world their are few simple images too.

These images are examples of cultural (mis)appropriation.

Of course the next question becomes what does that mean?

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture. Cultural appropriation may be perceived as controversial, even harmful, notably when the cultural property of a minority group is used by members of the dominant culture without the consent of the members of the originating culture; this is seen as misappropriation and a violation of intellectual property rights.-Wikipedia

If you would like to know more I recommend this article.

How does it apply in this case? These images although not in themselves harmful are the cultural property of Aboriginal peoples and have been used without any compensation to the people themselves, in fact they are used in a time where Aboriginal admission to society at large was either blocked or marginal.

Really you ask? Yes Really! Can you imagine if your jerk neighbour one day walked over to your house with a gun. He kicks you and your family out of the home and makes you live in the doghouse living off his garbage. Then he has one of his marketing bros take pictures of you and create a brand around your family for lets say bread from the grain he grows in your backyard. The bread company makes it big and you still aren’t allowed out of the dog run, let alone any of the profits… Fuck that guy right?… Fuck Oil companies…

So for the sake of this piece I am stating that the old Aboriginal oil company images are misappropriation of Culture… Where does that leave Big Chief Cream Ale?

Answer: Appropriating a cultural appropriation!

This apart from being inconsiderate branding is lazy branding. You’ve simply used an old branding trope and applied it your own product. But more importantly you affirming that it is ok to (mis)appropriate culture in a time where we are trying desperately to reconcile.

I always have people pressure me as to what affirmation is in the context social issues and why it is negative. In this context Affirmation is:

         A statement (through media, art, writing, or spoken word), that unintentionally or accidentally persuades the consumer of said statement to a larger philosophy despite the statement being of seemingly less substantive quality or quantity than the Unintended Larger Logical Philosophy.


Statement: To a boy “Don’t cry like a girl!”

Logical interpretation/Affirmation: Girls crying are bad, acting like a girl is bad

Unintended Larger Logical Philosophy: Being a girl or acting like a girl is bad

In this case:

Statement: Settlers use and make money from images of Aboriginal Culture without any compensation to Aboriginals

Logical Interpretation/Affirmation: It is good to make money from images of other cultures.

Unintended Larger Logical Philosophy: It is acceptable to exploit the culture of people such as Aboriginals.

In both cases the Unintended Larger Logical Philosophy gets Affirmation because the original Statement does not explicitly deny aspects that would logically follow.

You might say that because these statements are not intentional hateful they are therefore acceptable. I do not accept that. Life and history have shown time and time again the original intention and actual conclusion may have correlation but not always causation.

I could give you the example of the lawful election of the Nazi’s but I won’t. Instead think of the time someone got a nickname at work and the person weeks later asked everyone to stop. The intention was collective fun. Once one person used the nick name this affirmed to others in the work place that it was ok to do so too. The effect of this nick name, despite the intention, was to hurt the owner of the nick name.

In other words continuing with the first example if we were to say to a boy “Don’t cry like a girl… even though boys and girls are equal.” The statement doesn’t make any sense because logically it is a contradiction. To overtly deny the Unintended Larger Logical Philosophy we must actually contradict the statement itself thus proving (to some at least) that telling a boy “”Don’t cry like a girl.” affirms thats being or acting like a girl is bad.

The above shows the first example is innatley within the Unintended Larger Logical Philosophy of acting like or being a girl is bad, but that is not always the case with Cultural Appropriation. Sharing Culture can be positive of course as the diversity of peoples has shown us time and time again.

The can in question could be a positive example of Cultural Appropriation if Mission Springs had contacted Aboriginal Nations asking for their thoughts and consent and commisioned Aboriginal artist. Before i go any further, there is a slight chance this is the case, however i very much doubt that. Even if this is the case everything i have written in regards to Cultural (Mis)appropriation remains standing tall.

Doing what I have described above and letting the consumer know in the note would help in the reconciliation process by respecting Aboriginal cultural norms and our own cultural norms of compensation for value. In this case compensation for the cultural image which oil and beer companies clearly think has value. Despite my thoughts we get something very different in the note.

-The Note, and writing.


On the can side: Its time to rev your engines with high-performance sophistication. Our signature Big Chief Cream Ale is beautifully golden-coloured, smooth and lightly hopped with a traditional English variety . A seductive malt body provides the sweetness of caramel and biscuit… (the rest is unreadable) 

First of all the note on the side totally ignores the image’s connection to Aboriginal people. Instead the writer references the use of similar images for the oil company making automotive references all around.

Next we might consider the name of the beer “Big Chief Cream Ale”. Chief is not an Aboriginal word despite most often being associated with Aboriginal Nations. Chief has origins in French and Latin and is yet another example of the Colonialism living on today.

In both cases we see here unwillingness on the part of Mission Springs to face the tension of the image and words presented to persuade the consumer to buy their product. By not facing the tension Mission springs is clearly Affirming Cultural Misappropriation at the expense of aboriginals and by doing so undermining reconciliation process.


Mission Springs clearly sees values in the image and the words of this brand but seems more interested in depositing money in their pokets than with the effects of their branding. I will not knowingly give a dime to Mission Springs until this branding is dropped and ask you to do the same. I’ll leave you with words by Mr. Thomas King with a link to his Video which incredibly parallels concepts I have attempted to discuss.


I’m not the Indian you had in mind

I’ve seen him, I’ve seen him ride

Rush of wind, darkening tide

With wolf and eagle by his side

His buttocks firm and well defined

My God, he looks good from behind

But I’m not the Indian you had in mind

I’m not the Indian you had in mind

I’ve heard him, heard him roar

The warrior wild in the video store

The movies that we all adore

The cliches that we can’t rewind

But I’m not the Indian you had in mind

I’m not the Indian you had in mind

I’ve known him, oh I’ve known him well

The bear greased hair,

The pungent smell

The piercing eye

The startling yell

Thank God he’s the friendly kind

But I’m not the Indian you had in mind

I’m that other Indian

The one who lives just down the street

The one you’re disinclined to meet

The oka guy, remember me?

Hipper wash, wounded knee?

That other one

The one who runs the local bar

The CEO, the movie star

The elder with her bingo tails

The activist alone in jail

That other Indian The doctor

The homeless bum

The boys who sing around the drum

The relative I cannot bear

My father who was never there

He must have hated me I guess

My best friend’s kid with FAS

the single mom who drives the bus

I’m all of these

and they are us so damn you for the lies you told

and damn me for not being bold enough

to stand my ground and say

that what you’ve done is not our way

but in the end the land won’t care

which one was rabbit which was bear

who did the deed and who did not

who did the shooting and who got shot

who told the truth who told the lie

who drained the lakes and rivers dry

who made us laugh, who made us sad

who made the world monsanto mad

whose appetites consumed the earth

wasn’t me

wasn’t me

wasn’t me

for what it’s worth

or maybe it was but hey let’s not get too distressed

it’s not as bad as it may sound

hell we didn’t make this mess

it was given us and when we’re gone,

as our parents did, we’ll pass it on

you see we’ve learned your lessons well

what to buy and what to sell

what’s commodity, what’s trash

what discount you can get for cash

and Indians, well, we’ll still be here

the real one and the rest of us

we’ve got no other place to go

don’t worry we won’t make a fuss

well not much

still, sometimes,

sometimes late at night

when all the world is warm and dead

i wonder how things might have been

had you followed, had we led

so consider

as you live your days

that we live ours under the gaze

of generations watching us

of generations still in tact

of generations still to be

seven forward

seven back

yeah it’s not easy

course you can always ask this buck you like so much

this Indian you idolize

perhaps that’s wisdom on his face

compassion sparkling in his eyes

he may well have a secret song

a dance he’ll share

a long lost chant

ask him to help you save the world

to save yourselves

Don’t look at me I’m not the Indian you had in mind

I can’t,

I can’t.

Mangia at Luppolo

If there is one word that describes American-Italian culture best its “Mangia”, for that reason I was surprised to see it present at Luppolo. Luppolo (Italian for Hop), is far more authentic than the sort of place that usually screams “Mangia”, and if they continue maybe they can steal the word back from the cultural equivalent of a pizza.



Tomatos-check, Stereotypical Italian name-check, MANGIA!

Luppolo is located just off the brewery beaten track between Strange Fellows and Off the Rails on Vanables west of both. We walked it from Clark station in the snow and rain and it wasn’t totally intolerable but perhaps we would have benefited from umbrella.

The brewery itself has none of the Italian-American Schtick you might expect and is warm and open. Its a nice place to sit and enjoy a beer.


Given that the Luppolo is still in its early stages, its initial offerings are quite impressive, . You can view the list we chose from in the picture below.


The best of the beers I tried was the Robust Porter which was roasty and light as a decent porter should be – 4/5

The Double IPA was enjoyable as well with some juicy notes – 3/5

The West Coast Farm House ale was ambitious and all the pieces of a great beer were there, unfortunately in the wrong proportions. I’m sure this recipe will improve with subsequent batches, but for now it was a miss – 1.5/5

We did discover the although triangles are great shapes for building bridges they leave something to be desired when carrying flights, the aesthetic killed though.

Luppolo also has some small fare for food which I did not get a chance to try but looked delicious. In short it should not be left off your East Van Crawl and defiantly is another formidable brewery worth visiting.




The Annotated BC beer awards


Another year another set of BC beer awards. Now I’ll admit I like awards they are fun a serve as a guide line to picking beers…BUT… These beers are not what a group of people subjectively decide taste the best these beers are the beers that people think closest to the guidelines as created  by the BJCP.

This means if you hate Stout don’t bother having the top awarded stout because it is not the best tasting stout according to a group of people but the stout that tastes most like the style guidelines here:

Aroma: Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent; may have slight chocolate, cocoa and/or grainy secondary notes. Esters medium-low to none. No diacetyl. Hop aroma low to none.
Appearance: Jet black to deep brown with garnet highlights in color. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear). A thick, creamy, long-lasting, tan- to brown-colored head is characteristic.
Flavor: Moderate roasted, grainy sharpness, optionally with light to moderate acidic/sourness, and medium to high hop bitterness. Dry, coffee-like finish from roasted grains. May have a bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Balancing factors may include some creaminess, medium-low to no fruitiness, and medium to no hop flavor. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium-full body, with a creamy character. Low to moderate carbonation. For the high hop bitterness and significant proportion of dark grains present, this beer is remarkably smooth. The perception of body can be affected by the overall gravity with smaller beers being lighter in body. May have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable.
Overall Impression: A very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale.


So with that understood here is my annotated list of winners where I tell you what I think about the winners in terms of my own subjective taste. In other words do i like the beer or not. My thoughts in Italics


Flagship IPA

Steamworks Brewing Company

This is the 3rd time Steamworks has won BIS and Brewer Julia Hanlon is the first female brewer to win!

Solid beer no complaints, and I like that it is a year round beer to boot


Sho Ogawa & Novia Chen (2nd year in a row!)

I know Sho and Novia and they make great beer!


Field House Brewing Co.

I think this is a brand based award personally, I didn’t have a lot of beers i’ve loved from them, But I can’t think of anyone more deserving… so


Pablo Esco Gnar IPA – Boombox Brewing Company in collaboration with Machine Ales

I’m kicking myself for missing out on this one. 


Old Money Mild – Brassneck Brewery

Acceptable win!


1: 33 Acres of Darkness –  33 Acres Brewing Company

2: Vienna Lager –  Moody Ales

3: Red Racer Pils –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

I’m not necessarily upset by what I see here, but personally I’d grab a Twin Sails or a Steamworks pilsner over all but Moody’s offering.


1: Red Racer Old School Lager –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

2: Keller Pilsner –  Persephone Brewing Company

3: Steamworks Pilsner  –   Steamworks Brewing Company

Oh wait here’s steamworks… it should have won in terms of taste, Twin Sails in the mix too.


1: Steamworks Kolsch –  Steamworks Brewing Company

2: High Country Kolsch –  Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.

3: Arctic Kolsch –  Swan’s Brewery

Kolsch can be fairly boring so I barely even care, but it is a shame that a dry hopped kolsch wouldn’t have a chance in this category.


1: Gladstone Altbier –  Gladstone Brewing Co.

2:  Vienna Lager  –  R&B Brewing Co.

3: Potts Pils –   Moon Under Water

Vienna is in Austria, Lager is blonde but a Vienna Lager wins silver the German Amber Beer category… Yellow dog makes a good Alt, and Doans.


1: Dark Lager  –  Steel & Oak Brewing Co.

2: Baltic Porter  –  Cannery Brewing Company

3: Red Racer Dopplebock  –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

HM:  Brewmaster’s Black Lager  –  Okanagan Spring Brewery

Fine beers but how can 33 acres of darkness not be in this category and win in another? ugh who cares.


1: Demimondaine Dunkelweizen – Barkerville Brewing Co.

2: THIS IS HEFEWEIZEN –  Moon Under Water

3: Weizenbock –  Steel & Oak Brewing Co.

By far one of the weakest categories, Steal & Oak can take my money but the other offering, despite being good examples of the style are boring.


1: English Bitter  –  Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.

2: Red Devil Ale  –  R&B Brewing Co.

3: Beacon ESB  –  Lighthouse Brewing Company

As someone who cut their teeth on english ale I’m completely lost. I’d argue that none of these are stylistically good examples of the style, and that the winner is arguably the worst bitter i’ve ever had! How Real Cask did not win this blows my mind.


1: Clover IPA –  Big Ridge Brewing Co.

2: Paddywhack Organic IPA  –  Nelson Brewing Company

3: English IPA –  Strathcona Beer Company

My only complaint here is the English IPA from Strathcona, i thought it was wretchid when i had it. I guess i will have to try again. 


1: After Dark Ale  –  Nelson Brewing Company

2: Tall Timber Ale  –  Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.

3: Aethelred the Mild  –  Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.

Needs more Moody Ales.


1: Classic Scotch  –  Steamworks Brewpub Gastown

2: Irish Stout  –  Raven’s Brewing Company

3: 1880 Export Stout –  Moody Ales

No issues here


1: 52 Foot Stout  –   Barkerville Brewing Co.

2: Perfect Storm  –  Townsite Brewing Inc

3: 710 Oaked Stout  –  Faculty Brewing Co.

Can’t speak to these unfortunately.


1: Thor’s Hammer  –   Central City Brewers + Distillers

2: Wee Heavy   –   Persephone Brewing Company

3: Wobbly Bob  –  Red Collar Brewing Company

I’d drop the most recent Wooly Buggar from Howe sound into second spot and drop the Red Collar offering straight out.


1: Pinot Noir Raspberry Blonde  –   Tin Whistle Brewing Company

2: Red Truck Raspberry Ale  –   Red Truck Beer Company

3: Tropic Vice   –   Dead Frog Brewery

Tropic Vice I find very artificial tasting, My personal Favourite is Berried Alive from Longwood Brewery.


1: Jackline Rhubarb Grissette  –   Lighthouse Brewing Company

2: Spruce Tree Ale  –  Tofino Brewing Company

3: Hibiscus Wit  –  Brassneck Brewery

I hate the category altogether


1: Entropy Series No. 1  –   Dageraad Brewing

2: Inertia II  –  Brassneck Brewery

3: Thor’s Hammer Bourbon Barrel Aged  –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

No complaints when i see Brassneck and Dageraad winning.


1: Roggen Weizen  –  Steel & Oak Brewing Co.

2: Londen  –  Dageraad Brewing

3: Sour Wheat Gose  –  Field House Brewing Co.

As someone who has had Gose from Leipzig I can’t believe Field house’s offering won anything-its simply a sour wheat beer.


1: Hooligan Organic Pilsner  –  Nelson Brewing Company

2: Jerkface 9000 –  Parallel 49 Brewing Co.

3: Cypress Honey Lager  –  Granville Island Brewing

Hey personally i’d take a Cariboo over the GIB but that’s just me.


1: Organic Wild Honey Ale  –  Nelson Brewing Company

2: Postmark Blonde  –  Postmark Brewing

3: Dutch Pale Ale  –  Field House Brewing Co.

Nope, Dutch Pale Ale is an affront.


1: Chase My Tail Pale Ale  –  Yellow Dog Brewing Co.

2: One Hop Mind  –  Callister Brewing Company

3: East Side Bitter  –  R&B Brewing Co.

Yellow dog is deserving, but how a beer called a bitter (as in english bitter) wins a north american pale ale category (hoppy pale ale) I’m fucking lost. There are so many great pale ales out there quick suggestion? Central City’s Pale Ale.


1: 33 Acres of Life  –  33 Acres Brewing Company

2: Troller Bay Ale  –  Howe Sound Brewing

3: Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale  –  Tree Brewing Co.

All cool except the beaver, its mildly offensive.


1: Bandit Brown  –  Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.

2: Slipstream  –  Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.

3: Kim-Ach-Touch Ale  –  Tree Brewing Co.

Bandit Brown is more than passible but I’m not sure how it wins the category.


1: Commander Imperial Stout  –  Dead Frog Brewery

2: Stag and Pheasant Imperial Stout  –  Main Street Brewing Company

3: Russian Imperial Stout  –   Moody Ales

They may have nailed this category.


1: Flagship IPA   –   Steamworks Brewing Company

2: Play Dead IPA  –  Yellow Dog Brewing Co.

3: The Ultra Deluxe   –  Boombox Brewing

Haze rules the day!


1: Blonde IPA  –  Dageraad Brewing

2: White ISA  –  Red Truck Beer Company

3: YVR ISA  –   Steamworks Brewing Company

YVR ISA i feel is lacking, i might insert bottle rocket from phillips.


1: 187 On An Undercover Hop  –  Parallel 49 Brewing Co.

2: Cosmic Wave Double IPA  –  Tofino Brewing Company

3: Second Anniversary Double IPA  –  Main Street Brewing Company

Bit of a boring bunch but i can’t think of anything that blew me away until the hazy IPA train started taking off- perhaps a beer like Space Armadillo takes this next year, or a double version of High five from yellow dog or a double version of Flagship from steamworks.


1: Jongleur Wit  –  Strange Fellows Brewing Company

2: Bier de Garde  –  Old Abbey Ales

3: White Gold Witbier  –  Barkerville Brewing Co.



1: Dageraad Blonde  –   Dageraad Brewing

2: Saison #7  –  Main Street Brewing Company

3: Old Barn Saison  –  Fernie Brewing Company



1: 33 Acres of Euphoria  –  33 Acres Brewing Company

2: Central City Belgian Strong  –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

3: 10 Degrees  –  Dageraad Brewing

HM: 8 Degrees  –  Dageraad Brewing

NOPE,  neither silver or gold are better than pretty much anything Dageraad has put out.


1: Raynard  –  Strange Fellows Brewing Company

2: Cantus Fermus  –  Main Street Brewing Company

3: Bizarro  –  Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.

I missed out on Raynard but Bizarro was simply a bad beer like most of phillips kettle sours.


1: Bodhisattva  –   Parallel 49 Brewing Co.

2: Sour Raspberry  –   Old Abbey Ales

3: Little Red One  –  Strange Fellows Brewing Company

No complaints

As I complete another year of complaining about beer awards the theme coming through  is although I don’t like the choices i can’t think of many better options. I can’t help but think although beer has been improving for years in BC its not progressing as the same rate it has. Sours were a great breakthrough but now we have a  glut of mediocre kettle sours mixed in with a few superb ones. Even so, I’m confident that things will improve as more and more American beers enter the mix and push the bar ever higher!